Jeepers, creepers, where’d ya get those peepers? Yeah, that song still triggers my fight or flight too, being one of the first horror films to truly keep me awake at night as a kid. Gina Phillips was an instrumental part in that, playing the main character Trish in the first movie. With the recent resurgence of her on-screen brother Justin Long in Barbarian, where is Trish at these days?
Born in the retiree paradise of Miami Beach, Florida in 1970, Gina spent as quiet of a childhood as you can in Miami before going to the University of Pennsylvania for college. While she would explore acting while attending college, making small guest roles in early 90s sitcoms like Growing Pains as well as the Star Trek series at the time, Deep Space Nine. While she would try to balance both schedules’ demands, she would end up dropping out of college one credit shy of her degree.
Generating Some Buzz
Worth it, as her debut would be the insect equivalent of Birdemic long before the lauded film flop, Invasion: The Killer Bee Story. The film would follow a family trapped in their house, under siege by a swarm of killer bees outside. Again, Birdemic with bees, Beedemic if you will.
Being in a bomb of a television movie happens to the best of us, and Gina bounced back pretty easily, all things considered, with a role in John Ritter’s film Unforgivable and a guest spot in the cult-classic sci-fi series Sliders. Her roles would stay varied, appearing everywhere and settling nowhere until a recurring role in Ally McBeal popped up in 1999. She would follow her stint there with a second recurring role on Boston Public the following year, appearing in five episodes.
Her time in the spotlight would finally come with a starring role in the new horror to be released by director and convicted abuser Victor Salva as well as produced by Francis Ford Coppola. She would star opposite Justin Long’s Darry as Trish, the sister of the duo. She would also be the only one of them to survive the film, returning to her role for a cameo in Jeepers Creepers 3 almost fifteen years later.
The 2000s saw Phillips caught in a hell of direct-to-DVD horror and thriller films with some of the lowest budgets possible, as well as guest spots across various crime procedurals for the most part including respective different roles in CSI and CSI: New York. While she wouldn’t play the same character on her stint between the shows, it probably speaks more to the failure of the federal relocation program than the casting.
Her attention would shift in 2009, marrying boyfriend and producer Lee Nelson. While the couple is very private with their relationship, they have said they have one child together, with no other information made public. Gina took a step back from the limelight from there, only starring in Nelson’s 2012 horror project Chained which was directed by Jennifer Lynch.
Gina has kept quiet over the years since, taking a five-year-long hiatus from acting from 2012-2017, likely to raise the couple’s child and focus on their small family. While she has somewhat returned to acting, her last two credits since her 2017 return being… questionable at best.
The first of course is a return to her big break with a reprisal of her role as Trisha in Jeepers Creepers 3. While the film would already lose many viewers from the fourteen-year timespan between sequels, returning writer and director Victor Salva was very publicly yanked back into the spotlight for his abuse accounts and charges for the abuse of a minor on one of his older films.
It would bomb hard, leading to the franchise attempting a reboot in 2022 with a completely new team and cast, excluding Victor Salva and Gina Phillips entirely. Interestingly it would be received even worse than the previous film, critically panned and audiences hated it. Gina would have already moved on and had another unfortunate bomb, this time also in a horror-related reboot.
Annihilating her Hollywood Presence
That reboot was Doom: Annihilation in 2019. Gina Phillips would only provide a voiceover role for the film, which was somehow more faithful to the Doom franchise while also being considerably worse than the version involving Dwayne Johnson and “Maximum Effort” club member Karl Urban, who carried the film. At least this one featured hell, but it was made as a last-minute attempt to hang on to the film rights as it was released straight to DVD.
Gina Phillips hasn’t been in anything since Doom: Annihilation and hasn’t made any mention of continuing her career or officially retiring since then. She may have decided to just take on a more relaxing life, tired from the constant schedule demands of her earlier life. She’s not active on social media but instead stays away from the public as much as possible. Can you blame her?